Aug 22, 2017

Aromatic Meal - Curry Fried Rice

Bell pepper rarely shows up on my shopping list, and this colorful ingredient also seems absent from my family's dining table during my childhood. However, I guess taste does change over time and I start to appreciate bell pepper more throughout the years, especially when it's used for pizza topping! Who can resist pizza with sausages and bell pepper baked to perfection!?

Grilled bell peppers and pickled bell peppers are now my two favorite ways to enjoy these color veggies. 
Bell peppers can withstand stronger-tasting seasonings such as curry powder and cumin powder. So this time, I'm going to incorporate bell peppers into my curry fried rice recipe. 

Curry fried rice -

Ingredients (makes about 6 to 8 portions)?

  • 1/2 rice cup quinoa
  • 3 rice cups basmati rice
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 to 3 large king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 to 2 eggplants (if using shorter and skinny variety then use 2 instead)
  • 1 small can green peas
  • 2 stalks scallion
  • 1 to 2 red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper

Chicken marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese tsuyu
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder


Soak the quinoa first for about 10 to 20 minutes. Wash the basmati rice then pour the quinoa and its soaking water to the rice cooker, mix together with basmati rice. Cook the rice mixture with a little bit less water than usual in order to get the right texture for the fried rice. Fluff the grains once ready.

Ideally, drier and firmer grains are more suitable for fried rice. You can also precook the grains the day before then store in the fridge overnight. It will help drawing out some moisture in such cold and dry environment.

Cut the chicken breasts into smaller cubes and massage with the marinade ingredients. Cover and transfer to the fridge, let it marinate for at least 6 hours up to overnight.

Take the chicken out of the fridge a little earlier before cooking, about 10 minutes. That way the meat won't be too cold when adding to the pan.

Peel and cube the onion. Destem and finely chop the red chilies. Discard the seeds and cube the bell peppers. Cube the king oyster mushrooms. Destem, peel, and slice the eggplants. Drain the canned peas.

Destem and chop the scallion, separate the white and green sections.

Add the butter to a big pan and turn to medium high heat. Once the butter starts to melt, add in cubed onion along with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Give it a quick stir then add in the white sections of chopped scallion and red chilies. Mix again and cook till the edges of the onion turns slightly browned.

Transfer the chicken into the pan and cook till about half way cooked through.

Add bell pepper and king oyster mushrooms, mix and cook for about 2 minutes. Now transfer the eggplants over and cook till softened. 

Add in 1 teaspoon of cumin powder, 2 teaspoons of curry powder, and 1 more teaspoon of salt. Mix well and cook for another minute or two.

Add in drained peas in the end. However, if using fresh peas then add to the pan earlier. Taste and adjust the flavors with salt or even more cumin/curry powder. It should be on the saltier side so the flavors will balanced out when the grains are mixed in.

Mix in the quinoa and basmati rice mixture in two to three batches. Make sure every grain is coated with the seasonings but try not to over mix it, otherwise the rice might turn sticky and even paste-like.

Plate the curry fried rice and garnish with green section of the chopped scallions and perhaps some more freshly ground black pepper.  

Think about it, this might actually be my first recipe using bell pepper on Maybe it's time to explore some other ingredients that I don't get to eat as mush when I was a kid. 

Other fried rice recipes: 

Aug 16, 2017

Dark Chocolate with Candied Violets and Hazelnuts

What kind of souvenirs do you get when visiting Vienna? My answer will definitely be food related. While most tourists buy Mozartkugel, kind of like pistachio marzipan combined with nougat and chocolate, I got kandierte veilchen instead. These purple pieces of candied violets just too beautiful to let go.

Even though the candied violets can be pleasing to the eye, consuming in bulk can numb the palate and turn the elegant flowery aroma into soapy taste. In order to make these violets into something I cannot keep my hands off, chocolate bar is the answer.

Dark chocolate with candied violets and hazelnuts -

Ingredients (makes about two bars)?

  • 2 or 200 grams dark chocolate bars, 70% to 80% preferred
  • 1/4 cup candied violets, or other candied flowers
  • Small handful or about 20 to 30 grams hazelnuts


It's actually very easy to make this decorated chocolate bar. If using whole nuts, put the nuts into a Ziploc bag and smash them into smaller pieces with something hard, such as a meat tenderizer hammer or even the end of the chopstick. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

Prepare a double boiler, break the chocolate into smaller pieces and start melting them. Stir the melted chocolate and wait till glistening and free of lumps. Pour the melted chocolate to the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle crushed nuts and candied violets throughout. Transfer uncovered baking dish to the fridge for at least 2 hours or till fully hardened.

Once ready, remove from fridge and take out the parchment paper. Transfer the chocolate onto a wooden board. Cut or break the chocolate into large pieces.  

Let your imagination run free, use other types of nuts or even freeze-dried fruits to make the chocolate bars. My Instagram friend saw my earlier update about this chocolate and would like to try some, so I'm going to make a fancier version next time. Perhaps using both the dark and white chocolate with freeze-dried berries? I'll share the recipe if it turns out irresistible later on!

Other chocolate-related recipes: